Tag Archives: race recap

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie

30 Oct

Disclaimer: I received free product from Nuzest USA to create recipes. All opinions are my own; I was not compensated for my time.

Last weekend, I ran half marathon #6. In fact, I ran a 5k AND a half marathon in the same weekend, completing the Haunted Hustle Spooky Duo in Madison, WI! The Halloween theme meant that participants dressed in all sorts of costumes, and the medals are Mexican Sugar Skull-themed.

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Two medals that match up, a cool tech shirt, and a 1/4 zip hoodie…which all GLOW IN THE DARK!

The 5k on Saturday had amazingly warm weather. It was around 77 and sunny, albeit windy. I had been training specifically to run a shorter distance the day before my long run days, so doing a 5k before the big race wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t push myself too hard, but still finished with a pretty good time. And of course, the finish line had a cold craft beer waiting for me!

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I ran the 5k as the TARDIS from Doctor Who!

After showering, I went out for (vegan) pizza and a beer – perfect carb-loading the night before the half marathon. Overnight, the temps outside dropped significantly, and rain rolled in on top of some high-speed winds. I woke up plenty early on race morning and was thankful for bringing a long-sleeve shirt to wear under my Darth Vader dress costume. I ate two of my vegan energy muffins and then headed back to the race start line.

The forecast said there’d be rain, wind, and cold temperatures for the entire day. Luckily, we could wait around and stretch indoors. But soon enough, we had to corral outside and start running. 13.1 miles is a far distance in nice weather. But in that crap, it felt a LOT further. The first 5 miles were good – I was on time and feeling pretty good. Miles 6-8 were extra difficult, as the rain and wind had picked up around then. I couldn’t feel my hands, I was soaking wet from head to toe, and I could hear the squeak of my water-logged shoes over the sound of my running music. It was hard. And then the water station at mile 9 came up, along with a Powerbar gel. I know we’re not supposed to eat anything new on a run that we haven’t tested out during training, but I was hungry and desperate – the snacks I had packed in my running belt just weren’t doing the trick. Thankfully, the gel helped rather than hindered me, and I was back in the game, as it were. The final three miles of the course were identical to the 5k course the day before, so I felt a sense of familiarity once I got that far. The rain was off and on, but I pushed through, drank water and Gatorade at all the stops, and finally finished.

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

All smiles as I crossed the finish line!

The best part? My parents came out to see me cross the finish line! I saw my mom first, in her yellow raincoat, snapping a bunch of pictures of me. My dad was just behind the finish line, waiting to greet me as I crossed. I had been smiling for most of the race, but seeing them (and the end) put an extra wide smile on my face! I finished, got my medal and a heat sheet wrapped around me, and was ushered inside where it was warm. Oh, and where there was another beer waiting for me 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Love my parents!

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

You can’t tell, but I’m SOAKING wet in this photo!

After taking a SUPER hot shower, and enjoying some coffee, my parents and I went out for a well-deserved lunch (and another beer for me), before heading back home.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I PR’d!!!! Yep, despite the awful weather, I beat my personal record, which was totally unexpected. Maybe the cold motivated me to go faster? I’ll have to test that theory this winter.

But until then, enjoy this high-protein beautifully green, creamy pumpkin pie smoothie. It’s a great way to refuel from a long run (or race!) and is much healthier than taking a fork to a pumpkin pie (though I won’t judge).

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 C cold water
  • 1/4 C nondairy milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree (not the sweetened kind)
  • 1 serving (2 scoops) Nuzest Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp raw pepitas
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend until smooth and creamy in the jug of your blender. Use less water for a smoothie bowl, and add more water if you like to sip a thinner smoothie.

Don’t forget that you can take 15% off your next order of Nuzest USA products using my code “behealthy” at checkout! These protein powders really are clean and lean – they’re vegan, too, and taste amazing on their own, or blended into smoothies and baked goods!


Mexican Lentil Salad and Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap

29 Jun

This past weekend marked my fifth half marathon. It was a women-only race, which was incredibly empowering! The course was new to me, as it was in Madison, WI.

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Yep, this was my first race away from home, and I loved it. We got an Airbnb to stay in the night before, and so I could pickup my packet without hassle. Chris and I also got to enjoy the food and drink that Madison has to offer!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Madison is just 90 minutes from home, and it’s an easy drive. We ate a vegan lunch at the Green Owl Cafe, after which I picked up a handful of macarons from the Chocotarian, and then we enjoyed a few brews from One Barrel Brewing Company. A new brewery opened that weekend, so we went to check it out: Funk Factory Geuzeria. Afterward, we drove out to Mt. Horeb (about another 30 minutes), to re-visit The Grumpy Troll for delicious pizza and a variety of beers (samplers for me!).

Chris and I have this tendency to stumble upon brewpubs. So of course, we stumbled upon another one, the Brew Haus, and had to stop in for one; we were not disappointed, and then called it quits for the night.

The race was well-organized and started on time (I hate when they don’t!). The first mile included at least one incline, so that was a good indication of the rest of the route. My body, mind and spirit were on board with the day’s challenge.

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The weather was beautiful, the views were new, and the women were encouraging. I struggled a bit toward the end when my thighs started to feel the strain, but I pushed through.

Especially at the finish line. As I was about to turn the corner for the last tiny stretch, I told myself to gun it. All power to the engines, full steam ahead. I felt so GOOD. I wanted to finish strong, and I succeeded!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Admittedly, my time was not what I had been training for. But every other aspect was on target. Mentally, physically, and emotionally: I felt strong, courageous, and happy.

In fact, for the first time in a while, I had FUN during this race. I smiled almost the whole time. I high-fived other runners and cheered them on. We finished off the day with more beer, more delicious food, and finally a drive back home. It was by far my favorite race experience, and I hope my next one is just as enjoyable!

Her Madison Half Marathon Race Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Ok, now to the recipe. This simple salad is layered with complex flavors and textures. It’s high in protein, full of fresh vegetables, and dressed with a blend of olive oil and lime juice. The spice level is easily customizable, and this recipe can be scaled for larger gatherings or parties!

Mexican Lentil Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Also, don’t forget to enter the #cookoutweek giveaway by July 1 at 11:59 PM est for your chance to win this prize pack, valued at over $400! Enter by following our sponsors and bloggers on social media via a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mexican Lentil Salad | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mexican Lentil Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 C brown lentils
  • 4 C vegetable broth, beer, water, or a combination
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium English cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 C corn kernels
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 C salsa
  • 1/2 C nondairy sour cream
  • pepitas

In a large pot, bring your liquid of choice to a boil with the lentils and spices. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer lentils to a mixing bowl and stir in the jalapeno, bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and corn. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, hot sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir this into the lentil-veggie mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Refrigerate for at least one hour, up to overnight.

Serve with nondairy sour cream, salsa, pepitas. You could also serve this with tortilla chips or stuffed into a pita pocket.


Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake and Dolittle Half Marathon Recap

29 Sep

This past weekend required a lot of prep work. Months of sacrifice, sore legs, tired feet, and lots of laundry. Yep, I ran my third half marathon! The inaugural Dolittle full and half was held in Waukesha, WI on Sept. 25. Chris dropped me off for the 8am start.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pre-race pose!

We headed out on the Glacial Drumlin trail, where the entire out-and-back route was run. It was SO GORGEOUS. The weather was perfect: slightly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees. The trail was clean and flat and wide enough that I never felt crowded.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Couldn’t ask for a better day or path!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mid-stride. Of course I know how to pose while running!

My thighs started feeling sore halfway in. Hitting the turn-around point was revitalizing, but the pain persisted. And then I started to feel a twinge in my knee. At this point, I was walking more than I was running, or at least that’s how it seemed. At about mile 10, I decided that it was alright to feel the pain now, because THIS is what I had trained so long for! So, I consciously let the pain wash over me for five seconds, after which I told myself that it’s all in my head and that I could get through to the end. This worked, but only for a little while. I knew my time was no where near what I wanted. I kept going, with the mile markers motivating me further.

Finally, at mile 12, I put away my earbuds, as it’s best to experience the final mile and finish line with all the senses. I pushed through, passed people on the sidelines cheering, and gave it all I had to finish strong and with a smile on my face.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Rocking out as I crossed the finish line!

Chris and my mom were at the finish line, waiting with cameras at the ready. Some gatorade and a handful of fruit tasted so darn good!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The medal is really pretty!

We headed off to brunch where I shamelessly gobbled up a veggie omelet, sweet potato hash browns, toast and a beer. The rest of the day was spent mostly on the couch.

Except for dinner. I was sooo hungry by dinner time, that I wanted something substantial. A beautiful butternut squash had been sitting on our counter for a week, waiting to be crafted into a delicious meal. I combined that with pasta and two (!) cheeses for an amazing, comforting, and easy dinner.

I call this a “bake” rather than mac & cheese, because it doesn’t use béchamel sauce as a base. Simply boil the squash, puree it with the other sauce ingredients, mix in pasta, and bake to create a slight crust. Whether you’re refueling from a long run or just looking for a tasty, filling meal, this is where it’s at!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

Serves 4

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 8 oz whole wheat or gf pasta – a small shape like macaroni, penne or rotini work best
  • ¼ C milk
  • ½ C reserved pasta water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 3 oz aged cheddar, shredded
  • 2 oz gouda, chopped small
  • Additional paprika to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8” baking dish; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add all of the cubed butternut squash, cover, and boil 12 minutes. Remove the cover if it threatens to boil over. Drain in a colander.

Refill that same pot with water; add salt this time and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

While the pasta cooks, transfer the drained squash to a large bowl. Add the milk, butter, spices and pasta water. Use an immersion blender to puree until completely smooth. Alternatively, use a stand blender to puree.

Stir in the cheeses, and then the cooked pasta. Transfer to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika for some added color. Bake at 400 for 15 min, uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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